With new companies emerging everyday utilizing the technology, High Pressure Processing (HPP) continues to look more and more like the future of food and beverage pasteurization. So much so, that the formation of a trade association is in the works to advance the interests of companies using HPP.
Hiperbaric and Avure Technologies, companies who design and manufacture HPP equipment and machinery and are at the forefront with regard to promoting its use in beverage applications, are expected to team up to become financial supporters and major backers of a yet-to-be-named HPP trade group. Additionally, tolling facilities like the American Pasteurization Company and Universal Pasteurization are expected to be involved, as will food and beverage companies big and small.
Independent HPP consultant Joyce Longfield, who works with Hiperbaric, explained the need for such an association in a call with BevNET.
“There is a lot of grey area with regards to the FDA [U.S. Food & Drug Administration] and its regulations with HPP,” says Longfield. “Talking with other academic colleagues, we thought, ‘What if there was an HPP council that could demonstrate to the FDA that the companies involved with it have undergone validation studies, are playing by the rules?”
One of the immediate goals of such an council would be to create and implement a universal, recognizable logo for companies to put on their HPP-treated products, something akin to the Non-GMO Project Verified logo. Currently, some beverage companies have created their own HPP “bugs”, while others have shied away from fully embracing their HPP methods of production due to the fact that consumers are still mostly unaware of the relatively new technology.
Longfield thinks a ubiquitous symbol will help change that.
“We want to spread the word amongst consumers,” she says. “We want people to ask ‘What is HPP?’ and ‘Why are these HPP products a premium price?’ and learn that the premium price of these products are worthwhile because they are an investment in the consumer’s health.”
Educating the consumer is an investment as well, though it’s one many industry experts seem to agree will pay off.
“Particularly from the branding side, companies will endorse this,” says Jim DePietro, beverage consultant and former COO of BluePrint Juice. “It’ll be like the USDA Organic seal.”
Cold-pressed juice makers like BluePrint, Suja, Evolution Fresh and an array of other beverage startups have flocked to HPP, which gives their products an extended shelf life as well as preserving its nutrients and flavor. Like traditional methods of pasteurization, HPP eliminates bacteria and other spoilage microorganisms, however because HPP does so using water pressure – up to 87,000 PSI of it – it retains nutritional value that might otherwise get burned off in the heating process of conventional hot fill pasteurization.
No word on when and where an HPP association will make it’s official debut, but it’s certainly something those in the industry are excited about.
“HPP is the perfect technology for emerging businesses like organic juices,” says Kevin Quirk, President of Harvest Soul, Inc., an organic chewable juice brand that launched in December. “It’s going to be the catalyst that will allow the organic food market to go berserk over the next five to ten years.”